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How will the US protect Israel now?

David Hurst wrote on April 15 in the Middle East Eye about the overall situation after Iran’s drone and missile attacks on Israel. He is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye.


David Hurst

Update: 18 April 2024, 22: 08

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Daily Star NewsThe country’s missiles are on display during Iran’s National Army Day parade. Tehran, Iran, April 17, 2024 Photo: Reuters


When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered an attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, two weeks ago, he knew exactly what he was going to do. A number of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commanders including Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, Iran’s senior military officer, were killed in the attack.

The Israeli attack was aimed at limiting existing weapons supplies to the Lebanon-based organization Hezbollah or forcing Iran-backed groups to retreat along the northern border. There was also an attempt by Israel to wipe out the Iranian leadership in Syria through this.

Israel :

Six months after the start of the Israeli offensive, the Gaza war is taking a turn for the worse. Israeli ground forces are facing fierce resistance from stubborn Palestinians. No matter how much Israel continues its indiscriminate attacks and destruction, no matter how much suffering increases, the Palestinians will not surrender or flee.

The longer the war drags on, the stronger the morale among Hamas fighters. They think they have survived the worst. They have nothing left to lose. The people of Gaza will not go against them. Even if Rafa is occupied by Israel, it will not cause any problem. They have managed to instill hatred for Israel in the hearts of Gazans, which has increased the power of Hamas. After such indiscriminate killings by Israel, the recruitment of manpower and supply of weapons to the Hamas forces has increased significantly.

Various messages

As Israeli attacks on Gaza have stalled, opposition pressure on Netanyahu is mounting. Real pressure is mounting on his government to negotiate a deal to bring back Israelis captured by Hamas.

US President Joe Biden, Netanyahu’s main supporter and ally, has now become very visible to everyone. World public opinion is turning against him. Because of Netanyahu’s obstinacy, Israel is becoming a very friendless state.

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US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu File Photo: Reuters

Again Israel is playing its new game. Meaning, he is fighting for his existence. The attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus was opportunely timed for Netanyahu. He knew very well what this attack could mean.

The US also knew very well what Netanyahu was doing. With this, Israel sought to draw the United States into launching its third strike against Iran in 14 years. For this, the United States has directly told Iran that they have nothing to do with this attack.

Read more

Hezbollah drone strikes Israel, injures 18


Iran has tolerated it for a long time. The country saw what happened in the Security Council. The US, UK and France vetoed a resolution condemning Russia over the attack on the consulate. Iran then said it would not attack Israel if a cease-fire was enforced in Gaza. This too was ignored. Every Western country then banned Iran from attacking Israel. Biden advised Iran in one word, “don’t attack”.

At the time of the attack, Iran did everything right, sending a message to the US, Israel and the Arab region.

Iran simply wanted to set the precedent that Iran could launch a direct attack on Israel without a full-scale war. Iran just wants to tell Israel, they can hit Israel. They want to tell the US that Iran is a power in the Gulf region. They are here and they control and will control the Strait of Hormuz. They want to tell every Arab ruler, don’t show loyalty to Israel, the same can happen to them.

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A flash of light accompanied an explosion in the sky over Jerusalem as Iran launched a missile and drone attack on Israel on Saturday. AFP recorded the video of the incident. Image from that video: AFP

A handful of rockets hit the area, but Iran’s every message is clear. They were tactically successful in this attack. Israel’s reputation as the region’s ‘chief mercenary thug’ has suffered.

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Iran’s Revolutionary Guards began sending messages on their behalf by seizing the Portuguese-flagged vessel MSC Aris. According to Iran’s state news agency IRNA, the ship was chartered by a company whose chairman is Israeli-born tycoon Ayal Ofer.

Then Iran sent a swarm of cheap drones to Israel and told everyone it took eight hours to prepare them.

Israel’s Brigadier General Rim Aminowach told Wynet News that Israel spent about $1 billion to activate its air defense system.

It seems to be a small part of their bill to deter Iran.

At least four countries—the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Jordan—helped Israel by shooting down Iranian drones. And the fifth country is probably Saudi Arabia. The country is the only air route from southern Iraq to Israel. And the sixth country could be Egypt. They have played a major role in preventing air strikes.

Hezbollah drone strikes Israel,

A pothole has formed on a road in Israel that was hit by Iran’s attack. Hermon area, Israel, April 14, 2024. Photo: Reuters

In response, Iran used 170 cheap drones. On the other hand, Israel destroyed 25 out of 30 cruise missiles. These were traps. The actual weapons were ballistic missiles and some of them hit Israeli defenses. He read them at the Nevatim airfield in southern Israel.

Israel’s military spokesman Daniel Hagari said, “These missiles caused minor damage. We will never know. But a message has been sent to Israel that Iran has the capability to strike Israeli targets from this distance. For this, there is no need to use Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Yemen’s Ansar Allah or their allies in Iraq.

Read more


The weapons used in the attack on Israel are just a sample of Iran’s real weapons capabilities. After the attack, Iran warned the United States that if Israel retaliates at their mercy, no US base or installation in the Gulf region and across Iraq will be spared. After the 2020 killing of Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani, Iran similarly attacked US bases in Iraq.

Iran’s message to the US was strong: Iran is ready to attack Israel with ballistic missiles. Iran gave this message by giving a thumbs up to the Western world, including a direct warning to Biden. They can do this against any US ally in the Gulf region. Iran does not want war. But they are able to respond.

Iran’s message is that if the United States does not want war, it must withdraw from its authoritarian attitude. They must refrain from the way they have exposed Israel for a long time. Israel thinks it can do whatever it wants in the region.

Read more

Wrong foreign policy

Netanyahu is now in Dotana. He can now choose to please the extreme extremists. For this, he can launch a counter attack on Iran. But for this he will not get the help of the United States.

If Netanyahu were to attack Iran, his current strained relationship with the United States would worsen. Even those who are truly reckless in Israel’s defenses may launch a major attack. But in 2010, in such a situation, he could not do anything aggressive in the end.

If Netanyahu can’t do anything, he will become even weaker. He is already very weak. In that case, he had to concede defeat to Benny Gantz, the leader of the opposition and a member of the wartime cabinet. He spoke very aggressively against Iran in the cabinet meeting last Sunday. This is exactly how Arab leaders behaved after their defeat by Israel.

The US is also seeing its foreign policy take a major shock for the fifth time in three decades.

The overthrow of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq, the overthrow of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the attempt to remove Bashar al-Assad from power—these decisions have caused disaster in the foreign policy of the United States. Now supporting Israel in the Gaza war for the fifth time could bring them even greater disaster.

Wrong foreign policy

However, it will take time for them to realize how wrong the US was by supporting Israel’s attack on Gaza after the October 7 attack by Hamas. Similarly, it took time for them to realize how big of a mistake they were to attack Iraq.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testified in front of Congress that the US has no evidence of Israel’s genocide in Gaza. His statement has a terrible similarity with former US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s statement. Powell said in a speech at the United Nations that he has evidence that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction. In a real sense, his 2003 speech began to erode the credibility of the United States in the international arena. Thus the country is rapidly losing its credibility every year.

Powell later regretted his statement. Austin will regret the same someday.

place of hell

Israel is now trying to drag its allies into a place of hell, where there is no peace, no future, no defeat of Hamas, no outline of a post-war government. Deterrence against other armed groups in the region is eroding, and fears of regional war are rising on almost all of Israel’s borders simultaneously.

Israel’s security forces did perhaps the most stupid thing on Sunday. They have publicly boasted that the Jordanian air force assisted them by shooting down drones and cruise missiles.

Israeli sources boasted that missiles aimed at Jerusalem were shot down by Jordanian forces in the Jordan Valley. The rest were finished at the Syrian border.

By saying this, he wanted to send a message to Israel, even if not openly, that Israel has allies in the region, who are ready to protect them.

But this is Israel’s foolish game. If they want to protect Jordan’s extremely weak monarchy while fighting extreme public discontent, that storm is bound to hit the border.

Jordan may have had two appearances in the past. The late Badshah Hussain used to smuggle intelligence to his smoking buddy, former Israeli Prime Minister Isaac Rabin.

However, as far as I can remember, this is the first time that the Jordanian army called the ‘Arab Army’ has directly fought to protect Israel’s borders. This has never been seen before.

big mistake

A large part of the Jordanian population is of Palestinian and West Bank origin. As the man cheered to see missiles being fired at Israeli targets, the Jordanian army shot them down for Israel.

Israel only has relations with Arab leaders, to whom the will of the people has no value. Their corrupt government is oppressing the people. The Jordanian government’s actions may have saved Israel in the short term. But in the long run, Israel’s borders will be in serious trouble.

Israel might be happy to think they have a real ally. But in doing so they undermine the legitimacy of those allies.

Iran has shown this through this attack. Israel has become more vulnerable.

This is the first time Iran has directly attacked Israel and sent a message that it is not interested in war. It’s also the first time Biden has told Israel not to retaliate. In the aftermath of such an attack, Israel needs the help of others to defend itself and does not have the ability to independently decide how to strike back.

The United States, Israel’s protector, is looking at all options after the Iranian attack. Nothing looks good for them at the moment.


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